Federal officials have confirmed the presence of listeria monocytogenes in packaged salad produced at the Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. plant in Springfield, Ohio. Dole recalled products packaged under multiple brands because testing linked salad greens from the facility to a seven-month listeria outbreak.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the results of its analysis on January 29, Food Safety News reports. As of last week, 15 people in eight states had been confirmed with listeriosis, the infection caused by listeria bacteria. The most recent case was diagnosed January 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All 15 people have needed hospitalization and one person has died.
Canadian public health officials report seven infections and one death in five provinces. Listeriosis has not yet been confirmed as the cause of the death. “Laboratory tests performed on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates are highly related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States,” according to the CDC.
Listeria infections are generally most serious in older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC, though others can also become seriously ill. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Otherwise healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms but listeria infection can cause serious illness in higher risk individuals and can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. The CDC advises anyone who develops symptoms of listeria infection to seek immediate medical care.
Dole Food Co. of Westlake Village, California, had issued a voluntary withdrawal of salads from the Ohio plant but last week the firm changed this to a more serious voluntary recall of all products from the Springfield facility. Dole reports that all retailers in the 23 states and three Canadian provinces that received products from the Ohio facility had been contacted as of January 27.
The salads subject to the recall are identified with a product code beginning with the letter “A” in the upper right-hand corner of the package. Consumers who have purchased these salads are advised not to eat them.
Health officials did not link the Dole facility to the outbreak — which dates back to July 2015— until January, when a lab test of a packaged salad collected in Ohio returned a positive test result for listeria monocytogenes. The strain matched samples from the outbreak, according to Food Safety News.
The recalled salad products include mixes of leafy greens and other fresh-cut vegetables packaged under Dole’s own label and for Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, the Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics.
The recalled salads were distributed in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and in the Canadian provinces Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec. The salads may also have been shipped to Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, Canadian health authorities say.